I am currently managing the Front-End team at Studio 24. This involves people management and the maintenance of our Front-End standards and best practices.
As a senior Web Developer, my role requires both technical and business skills (a combination I enjoy very much!)
I act as 'Tech lead' on some projects, ensuring the smooth running of their technical aspects.
At other times, I am responsible for devising and running 'Discovery phases'. These consist in identifying user needs, business requirements, and technical constraints for clients who are investing in a digital asset. And then working out the most suitable solution. (Some call it Business Analysis.)
Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work with a variety of technologies: working in the context of a headless CMS architecture, coding a Progressive Web App, acting as a consultant/business analyst in the context of large projects.
Things that got me here
1982 Born in Charleroi, Belgium
2001 - 2005 Study Biology at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles. As part of my course, I learn to program in Pascal (does this make me feel old!)
Sept. 2005 Move to London for a combined Masters/PhD in Modelling Biological Systems at University College London. (I've never been one to chase butterflies in the fields. I'd rather debug a script.)
2006 - 2009 Things don't quite work out for me in the academic world. I quit my Masters to work as a special needs teaching assistant in secondary schools.
I need to come down my fluffy academic cloud and teach pupils with learning difficulties. Anything I say needs to be crystal clear. This is one of the most important skills I will ever learn.
Summer 2008 I wake up with the urge do make websites for a living. Two weeks later I'm signed up to a Web Applications Development course with the Open University. I will never know how or why I came up with that but I don't regret it.
Sept. 2009 I am looking for Web Development jobs. Everyone wants me to have eons of experience and a solid portfolio.
Sod it! I'm going freelance. If I'm building a portfolio, I might as well build it for myself.
2009 - 2016 I trade as M.A.J. Web. I start with small websites, the code of which would make me cringe now. I get better with every project.
And I learn a lot about business. The law of supply and demand kicks me in the face so I start learning WordPress. Over the years, I become somewhat of a WordPress specialist.
2011 - 2013 I spend a little over a year in Osaka, Japan, then under a year back in Belgium - freelancing remotely. I've forgotten quite a bit of Japanese but I suspect I'm still fluent in ordering food.
2014 Move to Cambridge, UK. Business picks up.
2016 - 2021 Studio 24, which was gradually becoming my biggest client, offers me a job. I'm four-month pregnant at the time and they are happy to accommodate me with a part-time position. Also, I will be working on projects I could only dream of as a freelancer.
It turns out my work mates are lovely. I learn zillions of things related to large web projects (scrum tools, git, front-end build tools, you name it).
I start as a front-end developer and over the years become WordPress Lead Developer and then Senior Web Developer.
2018 - Now I move back to Belgium for personal reasons. I still work for Studio 24, remotely. Yup, I was doing it before it was mainstream ;)
2021 - Now I become Front-End Team Lead at Studio 24.